Vermont board to hold Feb. 3 hearing on 5-MW Grand Isle solar project

The Vermont Public Service Board plans a Feb. 3 hearing on a November 2015 application from BDE Grand Isle Solar LLC for a certificate of public good that would authorize the installation and operation of a 5-MW (ac) ground-mounted solar array at 109 Allen Road in Grand Isle, Vermont.

The proposed project will occupy approximately 25 acres, and is comprised of 23,100+/- solar panels installed on fixed, pile-driven post mounted racking systems. The Feb. 3 hearing will be in Grand Isle.

Andrew Thomas, the Managing Director at Bullrock Deutsche-Eco LLC, said in opening testimony in this case that hge will be the main contact for the petitioner. He noted that the petitioner has undergone a name change since the submission of the 45-day notice of intent to apply. The name of BDE Grand Isle Johnson Solar LLC has been changed to BDE Grand Isle Solar LLC.

BDE Grand Isle retained Bullrock Deutsche-Eco to provide development and project management services for this project. Bullrock Deutsche-Eco has worked collaboratively with the petitioner and project contractors to manage various aspects of development including site selection, engineering and design, environmental investigations, aesthetic impact analysis, interconnection evaluation, regulatory and public affairs, financial modeling and construction management.

BDE proposes to install and operate the project on approximately 25 acres of an approximate 57.74-acre parcel of land that is an existing agricultural field at 109 Allen Road in the Town of Grand Isle. The petitioner and the local distribution utility, Vermont Electric Cooperative Inc., have entered into a purchase power agreement for a 30-year term whereby Vermont Electric will be entitled to all of the project’s output.

BDE would like to have the project in service by September 2016. In order to meet this date, construction would need to begin by early June 2016, with procurement of equipment by May.

Craig Kieny, a Senior Power Resources Planner for Vermont Electric, said in companion testimony that the cooperative supports BDE Grand Isle Solar’s petition. He noted that the parties have entered into the power purchase agreement for a 30-year term whereby Vermont Electric will be entitled to all of the project’s output and is guaranteed 80% of expected output (based on the number of panels and anticipated solar patterns). If the annual output is below 80% of the expected output, Vermont Electric will receive a financial settlement from the petitioner to make it financially indifferent. Vermont Electric will purchase all output above 80% of the expected output at the contract price.

The contract price is very favorable when compared to the subsidized price that Vermont Electric currently pays to net-metering customers and when compared to similar projects, Kieny noted.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.